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Malta loses eight places to fall to record low on corruption index

Greece fell eight places in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index previous year, dropping to 67th position from 59th in 2017.

Commenting on the results, Transparency International Estonia said that the improvement of the index in 2018 was helped along by political corruption cases that reached court the year before.

TI executive director Samuel Kimeu blamed the executive for protecting corruption suspects.

Dr Anna Damaskou, from TI in Greece, said the Novartis scandal - which saw the pharmaceutical company investigated over allegations it bribed public officials - had contributed to the rise in perceptions of corruption.

"On the ground, a weakening of democratic institutions and decline in political culture may undermine future anti-corruption efforts in Italy", it stated in the report.

In the last release on Tuesday, the country in a graphical representation scored 27 over100, and was ranked 144/180 countries studied.

The Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 finds the U.S.in 22nd place, with a score of 71, right behind France and ahead of the United Arab Emirates.

An increasing number of democratic institutions are under threat globally and with the vast majority of countries registering little progress the situation is becoming increasingly dire, according to statements from those involved in compiling the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

Scores range from 0 (perceived as highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be the least corrupt), using expert assessments and opinion surveys.

Italy has always been perceived as one of the most corrupt countries in Europe.

"The low score comes at a time when the USA is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power", Transparency International said.

With a score of 52, Italy improved by two points since 2017, part of a gradual and sustained ten-point increase since 2012.

These countries also scored 27/100 each in 2018. Denmark and New Zealand held the top-ranked spots on the list; Syria and Somalia were on the bottom.

In light of the low score, Transparency Maldives recommended strengthening oversight institutions, closing the "implementation gap between anti-corruption legislation, practice and enforcement", supporting civil society organisations as well as a free and independent media.

Full democracies scored an average of 75 on the corruption index, flawed democracies averaged 49, and autocratic regimes averaged 30, the organization said.

In the report, Transparency International warned that this lack of regulation means there's potential for trouble "where the public sector meets private".

The highest scoring region is Western Europe and the European Union, with an average score of 66, while the lowest scoring regions are sub-Saharan Africa, with the average score 32, while Eastern Europe and Central Asia have the average score of 35.

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